Australian Lakeisha Patterson continued her form at the Indianapolis Swimming World Series which concluded on Sunday as she claimed two more gold medals.
Patterson claimed her first gold in the women’s 100m freestyle S8 easily beating out American Julia Gaffney with 1:06.19. She then came out later in the night and won the 100m butterfly S8 with a time of 1:18.61 beating Canadian Danielle Dorris and Colombian Laura Rodriguez.
There has been a big change in Great Britain as Paralympic medallist Charlotte Henshaw announced she will be switching from swimming to canoeing going forward, she announced on Tuesday.
Hernshaw won a silver medal in London and a bronze medal in Rio for the 100m breaststroke SB6 and this week confirmed her retirement from the sport. In Rio she was identified by British Canoeing as a prospect and has now joined their Talent Confirmation Programme.
A long time world record has finally been lowered as Czech swimmer Arnost Petracek set a new world record in the men’s 50m backstroke S4 at the Sheffield Para Swimming World Series event on Sunday.
Petracek was amazed at his time, breaking a world record that has stood since the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games. His time of 42.22 seconds shaved just under half a second off the old record held by Mexican Juan Reyes.
That time meant Petracek demolished the competition in the multi-classification race, earning 1,035 points, the most of the meet. His next nearest competitor finishing almost 300 points back as British swimmer Andrew Mullen had to settle for silver.
It was a two man race in the men’s 200m freestyle and much closer than the earlier backstroke race. Britain’s Thomas Hamer continued his good meet as he won the race earning 953 points, finishing just ahead of a surging Wai Lok Tang of Hong Kong who earned 926 points.
The women’s 200m freestyle was dominated by intellectually disabled athletes and resulted in another gold for Great Britain. Bethany Firth won just ahead of team mate Jessica Jane Applegate with Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg off the pace in third.
Rebecca Meyers continued her stunning form as she won her third race of the meet in the women’s 400m freestyle. Meyers was well ahead of the field as she managed 877 points, two British swimmers finishing behind her in Elanor Robinson and Maisie Summers-Newton.
In the men’s 400m freestyle there was another three time gold medallist as Uzbek swimmer Dmitriy Khorlin claimed the win. He finished well in front of the British duo of Lewis White and Jacob Leach both finishing 100 points further back to finish the meet.
After a good performance from British swimmers on Thursday, it was the Americans turn on Friday as they managed big wins at the World Para Swimming World Series in Sheffield.
Rebecca Meyers and Letticia Martinez were the stars for the United States in what was a strong performance from the American women. Again the events were multi classification with the winner decided on points.
Meyers continued her good form in the Medley events as she claimed the women’s 200m individual medley for her second world series win of the year. She won with 960 points closely followed by Uzbek Shokhsanakhon Toshpulatova finished just five points back, both of them in the SM13 classification. SM6 British swimmer Maisie Summers-Newton gave the home crowd something to cheer about finishing third with 910 points.
The women’s 50m freestyle was all about visually impaired swimmers with the top two being visually impaired swimmers. British swimmer Hannah Russell finished in 27.54 seconds for 931 points while American Martinez had 924 points, setting a new Americas record of 31.54 seconds for the S11 classification. Bronze was claimed by Toshpulatova, backing up well from the Medley.
The men’s 200m individual medley final came down to just one point with Uzbek swimmer Dimitry Horlin breaking home fans hearts. Horlin had a score of 888 with British swimmer Ollie Hynd getting 887, the podium rounded out by Kahoru Harazawa who set a new British record in the SM10 classification of 2:14.59.
The final was the men’s 50m freestyle with Britain again doing well with Matthew Wylie earning 871 points. Uzbekistan continued their impressive meet as Muzaffar Tusunhujaev finished second with 859 points while another Brit, Lewis White, finished third.
The World Para Swimming World Series event in Sheffield had a perfect opening day for the hosts as British swimmers won three events at the Ponds Forge International Sports Center on Thursday.
Each event will be open to multiple classifications, making for a different format to what is typically seen in Para Swimming. With multiple classifications in one event the winner of each event, and qualifiers for a final will be decided by a points system based on times and level of impairment.
The women’s 100m freestyle was a British 1-2 with Hannah Russell (S12) claiming the win with 933 points, leading the whole field in a time of 59.77. Her team mate Stephanie Millward finished second with 916 points, a time of 1:06.62, hitting the wall in fifth, the bronze was won by American Jessica Long who finished at the wall in a time of 1:07.19 in seventh but her points total of 893 was enough for third.
In the men’s 100m freestyle two British athletes battled, with two records set in the process. Thomas Hamer sat an S14 European record in the heat but in the final Lewis White managed a British record in the S9 with 57.18 managing 850 points. Just one point behind him was Muzaffar Tursunkhujase of Uzbekistan with the S13 swimmer clocking 53.70. The bronze medal went to British S12 swimmer Stephen Clegg who swam 54.08 for 834 points.
Britain managed another 1-2 in the Men’s 100m breaststroke with all three medalists being in the intellectual disability classifications. Conner Morrison won with 947 points, one second back was team mate Scott Quinn with 916 points while in third was Hong Kong swimmer Wa Kit Choi who was less than a second further back finishing with 891 points.
In the women’s 100m breaststroke Norwegian Sarah Louise Rung made up for missing out on the win in the freestyle with a score of 912. The silver was claimed by British SB6 swimmer Maisie Summers-Newton with a 902 score. Bronze was claimed by Uzbek swimmer Fotimakhan Amilova, with 897 points, reflecting again Uzbekistan’s phenomenal rise in the sport.
Canada has announced their team for the Para World Swimming Championship on Monday, following the completion of the Canadian championships which ended in Windsor on Sunday.
The big hope from Canada is S7 swimmer Shelby Newkirk who broke the Canadian and Americas records for the 50m and 100m backstroke. Newkirk is the world leader in both of those events following her performances in Windsor.
Other winners at the national championship on the squad include Morgan Bird who won the women’s 100m freestyle S8. Another winner of the women’s 100m freestyle, Aurelie Rivard will swim in her S10 classification. In the medley Tess Routliffe won the women’s 200m individual medley in the SM7 classification, with Katrina Roxon winning the SM9 classification. Roxon also claimed the women’s 50m backstroke S9 and was a member of the winning women’s 4x100m medley relay 34 points side, which also contained Abi Tripp who is joining the national team.
From the men’s side the winners at the Canadian Championships going to the Worlds include 100m freestyle S10 Alexander Elliot. Another S10 classified athlete, 20 time Paralympic medallist, Benoit Huot continued his strong career winning the 200m individual medley SM10 to qualify for the world championships. Philippe Vachon comes in to the team having won the 100m freestyle S8.
The most notable squad member on the men’s side comes in another 200m individual medley classification the SM13 event. Nicholas-Guy Turbide won the race in the Canadian Championships in a Canadian and Americas record claiming an easy victory while also winning the 50m backstroke and 100m freestyle.
Canada has a strong side ahead of the world championships where they will be looking to have a strong showing.
An important meeting has taken place in Bonn, Germany this week as the World Para Swimming Classification Advisory Group (CAG) wrapped up their meeting on Thursday. The meeting focused on developing a stronger assessment of the technical side of swimming classification, where the swimmers go through a test in the pool which is known as the ‘water test’. These protocols will now be sent to World Para Swimming, and then be tested ahead of implementation in 2018.
The move comes after the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) released a new Athlete Classification Code and international Standards last year, requiring all Para sports to comply by January 2018. The CAG has advised World Para Swimming to introduce the new criteria discussed in Bonn for the World Series this year, with the first event due next month.
The classification in swimming has been under scrutiny in recent years after concerns over cheating in water tests. That meant that this work was largely already being considered by the CAG before the IPC Athlete Classification Code was introduced last year, making these meetings in Bonn a little easier.
“We had some very good discussions with the CAG and are pleased with the progress being made, especially with developing the technical component of classification.” Said the acting head of classification, Peter Van de Vilet in World Para Swimming in a statement, “We are working hard on many different areas of classification within Para swimming, from education and training for classifiers at a national and international level, to how the sport delivers and carries out classification.”
Also discussed in Bonn was the pathway for classifiers and the recertification of those classifiers already qualified for the role. That resulted in a decision to hold a meeting with classifiers at the end of the year to recertify those that already exist. Also discussed was the ongoing research in to the impairment classification systems, while looking at further research options.